Dragons were an ancient race of sentient creatures native to the land of Alagaësia. While most roamed free and did not commonly associate with the civilizations of other races, a significant number were the mounts and life-long companions of the Dragon Riders.
There are very few dragons left in Alagaesia, thanks to the terrible genocide instigated by the Dragon Rider Galbatorix in his bid to become the all-powerful king of Alagaesia. However, unbeknownst to everyone, there were still eggs and free Eldunari in existence, hidden on the island of Vroengard, the ancient home of the Riders.
The dragons of Alagaësia were reptilian, with scales, sharp teeth, four legs, bat-like membraned wings and a tongue that was covered with hooked barbs.They developed the ability to breathe fire as they matured, usually around 6 months of age, which was about the same tie they grew old enough to mate. Their color varied from dragon to dragon. According to Brom, dragons could grow to be "larger than most houses" and some older dragons could be confused with large hills. They were connected to the land in strange ways, ways that sometimes even they could not control. Also according to Brom, the origins of dragons lay with Alagaesia itself and they have no foreseeable end.
Dragons communicated by thought; skilled telepaths, they, specifically those bonded to riders, could speak mentally, though it was considered rude to communicate with another Rider's dragon unless in emergency or with permission. As such, unless they spoke directly to another person, most bonded dragons had their Riders speak on their behalf after voicing their opinion to their Rider. Wild dragons communicated much the same way, but used smells, images, sounds, tastes and feelings to communicate. Only the most cunning wild dragons could communicate through telepathically spoken words or chose to; this was a barrier between the wild and bonded dragons that was a result of their pact with elves and humans. This also was a reason that made wild dragons view their bonded brethren as being too complacent, while dragons bonded to Riders saw their wild kin as brash, proud and arrogant.Dragon eggs tended to be the same color as the dragon's scales, as did the color of their Rider's magic. Their scales were very strong, capable of deflecting arrows, even on the underbelly. The wings were the weakest part of their body, composed of only a thin membrane of flesh (Saphira often had holes punched in them once her wards failed). Females tended to be more aggressive, vain, as well as larger and stronger than males: Saphira often called herself the "most beautiful creature in all of Alagaësia", as well as attacking Glaedr when he decided not to mate with her. Glaedr himself said that in the wild, the "females were so formidable, it was considered among the bonded dragons a great achievement to mate with one". For most dragons, the color of their eyes and hide matched with Fírnen and Shruikan being notable exceptions to this rule. The dragons' mouths also contained barbed tongues which were used to strip meat from bone. All dragons ate meat, especially deer and other ungulate animals, but would not hesitate to eat other creatures, even humans if the situation demanded it. Predators by nature, they hunted large animals, with an occasional fish, fowl and some plants, such as Fireweed, which eased bad breath and indigestion. Dragons are particularly fond of the giant snails, known as Snalglí, which were good for their digestion. The dragons were similar to other creatures of Alagaesia, namely the Nïdhwal and the Fanghur who were said by Glaedr to be "cousins of the dragons". Their enemies known as the Lethrblaka were also said to resemble the dragons somewhat in their appearance.
Dragons hatched from eggs. It is unclear if all dragons were the same size at birth as the size of their eggs varied. Interestingly, dragons could hatch instantly from their eggs the minute they were laid, but preferred to wait until the right opportunity, such as during abundances of food. Immortal, Dragons never aged or died of natural causes. There was also no limit to a dragon's size, as they grew continuously. Brom said that the most ancient dragons could be confused for hills or small mountains because of this: a dragon's size directly correlated to the size of the Eldunarí. The largest known dragon was Belgabad, whose skull was as long as the body of his maternal descendant, Saphira, and whose ribs were 80 feet long and 15 feet thick. Once dragons grew very old, they spent most of their time asleep in a type of torpor akin to death, dreaming of whatever caught their fancy.
When the unbound Dragons delivered one of their eggs to the Riders, certain words were said over it. These ensured that the dragon would only hatch for the one destined to be its Rider. If a dragon's Rider was ever killed, they would go on a terrible rampage to avenge their death. Afterwards, they often died from grief or the shock and psychic backlash of the event. If they so chose to, Dragons could retain their conscious mind in their Eldunarí, or their jewel-like "heart of hearts", which they would often disgorge afterwards, usually when they were sufficiently old and large, for the Eldunari were most powerful and able to absorb enough magic when they were of great size. Dragon Eldunari fed exclusively on energy, absorbing it until they were fully saturated. The older Eldunari were also very different from younger dragons as the dragons were to fanghur and nidhwalar; their minds were strange and often alien, though they were revered and admired for their intelligence and wisdom. However, many young dragons accidentally disgorged their Eldunari early. This ability to disgorge what was essentially their soul, allowed anyone with the Eldunarí - if it was given to someone - to speak to the dragon and draw energy from them. It was revealed by the elf Oromis that Galbatorix, during his rebellion, acquired all the Eldunarí he could from the dragons he murdered, which was the source of his amplified power. He also gave some of them to Murtagh (though these given to Murtagh were all young ones only), which explains his increased power. Due to this, Eldunari were the greatest secret of Dragonkind, and only shared with the Riders and those most trusted as allies. They were kept originally in Du Fells Nangaroth in the Hadarac Desert, but were all eventually transferred to Vroengard during the height of the Riders' power. However, though Galbatorix did collect all the avalible eggs and Eldunarí, there were many (136 total) hidden in the Vault of Souls underneath the Rock of Kuthian on Vroengard. Galbatorix was oblivious of this due to the Rider Thuviel immolating himself in the egg house on Vroengard during the Slaughter at Doru Araeba in a nuclear explosion. Furthermore, the amount of Eldunarí stored within the Vault of Souls was small enough (compared to the amount in the vault the riders created for the Eldunarí on Vroengard) that their absence would not arouse Galbatorix's suspicion. Adding to this, they were hidden a mile beneath the earth near an active lava flow that hid them in with its energy while simultaneously feeding them.
Along with the dwarves and the ancient, mysterious races known as the Grey Folk, dragons were one of the three races native to Alagäesia. The dwarves and the dragons constantly had skirmishes and neither ever found any liking for the other race.
This all changed when Elves settled in Alagaesia. After a dragon was killed by a rash elf out hunting, the long and bitter war known as Fyrn Skulblaka started between the two races. Each side did things they would regret: at one point, among them; elves ambushed dragon mothers in a forested nesting-place (in what became known as the Stone of Broken Eggs), killing them and breaking their eggs until blood poured into the forest below. No dragon has ever nested there in the thousands of years since. The elves also created weapons called Dauthdaerts; twelve deadly lances that could kill dragons and penetrate any magic they might cast, though all save for Niernen; The Orchid, were lost or destroyed. Though peace was sued for several times, this was made impossible due to lack of communication. Eventually, however, an elf named Eragon I (namesake of Eragon Shadeslayer) discovered an abandoned dragon egg and raised the dragon as his own, naming him Bid'Daum. Together, the pair acted as mediators for the dragons and elves, as well as were able to eventually resolve the conflict. Afterward, they established a pact or Blood Oath and created the order of the Dragon Riders, binding the Dragons and the Elves together with magic, as it was determined that a simple peace accord would not suffice, with many beneficial side-effects between both races; elves became immortal and graceful, humans bonded to dragons gained immortality and pointed ears like elves, and dragons gained a language of their own. The dragons and their Riders were tasked with maintaining the peace in Alagäesia. Humans were later added to the blood oath when they arrived after an incident involving the mad king Palancar, who tried to conquer Alagaesia and failed thanks to the intervention of the Dragon Riders. In addition to this, the Dragons helped to drive the monsters known as the Lethrblaka and their offspring, the Ra'zac, to near-extinction when the creatures attacked Alagaesia and began preying on humans.
As part of the pact with elves and humans, the dragons agreed to give some of their eggs to the Riders every year so that the order could continue. With the protection and assistance of the Riders, the dragons experienced an age of peace and prosperity. Though they still had contentions with the dwarves, a full-scale war never again erupted between races.
This changed with the induction of Galbatorix into the ranks of the Riders. After his training was complete, he foolishly went into the territory of the Urgals, another race in Alagaesia, and his dragon, Jarnunvosk, was killed. As he travelled home, Galbatorix's mind was lost to madness. Upon his rescue, Galbatorix demanded another dragon, and was refused, causing him to slay an elder and flee. Due to his cunning, he could not be found. Learning dark magic from a shade named Durza, Galbatorix then began enslaving Eldunari of the dragons he killed, and swayed thirteen other Riders including Morzan, Kialandi, Formora and Glaerun to his cause and their dragons. These riders and their dragons became the Forsworn. The Forsworn then began a mass genocide of the dragons, leaving them on the brink of extinction, and the dragons of the Forsworn were affected as well; the Du Namr Aurboda; the Banishing of the Names, a spell cast by the defenders, stripped the Forsworn's dragons of their names and intelligence, leaving them as mere animals. By the time of the completion of his rise to power, Galbatorix's dragon, Shruikan, was thought to be the only surviving dragon left, as the Forsworn died from accidents, madness, assassination and attrition. However, Galbatorix still held three dragon eggs and there was another surviving dragon, Glaedr, living in Du Weldenvarden. By Eragon's time, there were only five known dragons in existence that weren't Eldunari: Glaedr, Saphira, Thorn, Firnen and Shruikan.
However, the dragons continued to play a role in the working of Alagäesia, in the form of the tamperings worked by the Eldunarí within the Vault of Souls. They did many things to help bring about Galbatorix's downfall, such as helping Eragon's father, Brom, without his knowledge as he killed off the Forsworn and reaching out to the Werecats and giving them the message they would later pass on to Eragon, which would lead him to find both the Brightsteel metal for his sword, Brisingr, but also to find the Vault of Souls. In addition to this, they manipulated certain events, forging Eragon into the weapon of Galbatorix's destruction and healing his back after Eragon was wounded by the Shade, Durza.
When Eragon discovered the blue dragon egg in the Spine and eventually became Saphira's Rider (a match made by the Eldunari in the Vault of Souls), some hope was restored for the dragons. Galbatorix also wanted to reestablish the dragon race and the Riders to serve him. Saphira was the last known female dragon in existence. As revealed by Murtagh, it was Galbatorix's desire to reestablish the order of the Dragon Riders. Therefore, it was likely that Saphira would have become the "mother" of their race had this succeeded. However, in the Vault of Souls, Eragon and Saphira found that Vrael, Oromis, and a few other elders had realized that Galbatorix was too powerful and decided to hide away 136 Eldunarí and around 243 dragon eggs, 26 of which were saved for the new generation of Dragon Riders and then the Eldunarí cast a spell like that of the Banishing of Names, that erased the memory of the Rock of Kuthian from everyone's minds, including that of the Riders and the mothers of the dragon eggs. This spell would also prevent anyone who entered and left the vault from remembering the dragon eggs in the vault until the demise of Galbatorix at Eragon and Murtagh's hands. Eragon took these eggs with him at the end of Inheritance in order to find a safe place for them to hatch and grow. In addition to this, he further modified the ancient spell that bound elf, human and dragon together, adding the races of Urgals and Dwarves to the pact as well to add further diversity to their ranks and prevent further conflict.
Dragons of the Inheritance Cycle
- Saphira Brightscales- Eragon Bromsson's Dragon. Blue. Female. Mate to Firnen. Daughter of Iormungr and Vervada.
- Glaedr- Oromis' dragon. Cousin of Umaroth. Son of Nithring. Gold. Male. Body killed by Galbatorix, lives on through his Eldunari.
- Thorn- Murtagh Morzansson's Dragon. Red. Male.
- Shruikan- Galbatorix's dragon. Enslaved to do Galbatorix's bidding. Black. Male. Killed by Arya.
- Firnen- Arya Drottning's Dragon. Male. Green. Mate to Saphira Brightscales.
- Bid'Daum- Dragon of Eragon I. White in color, male. The first dragon to bond with a rider.
- Saphira I- Brom's dragon, Saphira's namesake. Blue. female. Killed by Morzan and the Forsworn.
- Jarnuvosk- Galbatorix's first dragon. Female.
- Belgabad- Saphira Brightscales' ancestor. Black. Male. Largest dragon of his time. Wild dragon without a Rider. Killed By Galbatorix.
- Raugmar the black- Great-great-grandfather of Vervada, Saphira's mother. Descendent of Belgabad.
- Umaroth- Vrael's Dragon. Cousin to Glaedr. White. Male. Lives on in Eldunari after body was killed by Galbatorix.
- Cuaroc- Rider unknown. Purple. Given a new mechanical body to house his Eldunari by an enchantress named Silvari.
- Ohen the Strong
- The Nameless Dragon- The dragon that represented his race in the pact that created the Dragon Riders. Though he did have a name, it could not truly be spoken or pronounced in any language other than through mental images.
- Fundor- Rider unknown. Killed a giant sea serpent.
- Valdr- Wild Dragon. Oldest of Eldunari in Vault of Souls.
- Vervada- Wild Dragon. Crimson. Saphira Brightscales' mother. Killed by Galbatorix
- Iormungr- Rider unknown. Saphira Brightscales' father. Killed by Galbatorix.
- Nithring- Wild dragon. Glaedr's mother.
- Miramel- Rider unknown. Brown.
- Mimring- Terrin's Dragon. Scales turned as clear as diamond from flying too close to the sun.
- Vanilor- Wild Dragon. King of wild Dragons in Alagaesia.
- Eridor- Wild Dragon. Vanilor's successor as king of wild Dragons.
- Agaravel- Rider Unknown, though killed by the Forsworn. Female. Lives on through her Eldunari.
- Morzan's Dragon- Dragon of Morzan. Red. Male. Nameless due to Du Namr Aurboda.
- Kialandi's Dragon- Dragon of Kialandi. Purple in color. Nameless due to Du Namr Aurboda.
- Formora's Dragon- Dragon of Formora. Brown in color, considered ugly by Glaedr. Nameless due to Du Namr Aurboda.
- Glaerun's dragon- Dragon of Glaerun. Nameless due to Du Namr Aurboda.